KTM Italy has released information about the new Super Duke 1290 GT, a bike that will show up in its finished form next month at EICMA in Milan. According to our virtual translator, this one’s “dedicated to a sporting public that, while traveling in comfort, wants to be always ‘Ready to Race’!”

Basically, what’s going on here is KTM taking MO’s 2014 Motorcycle of the Year Super Duke R and turning it into a quasi-Sports Tourer in the best possible way.


Instead of no fairing at all, the GT will have a frame modified to accommodate a good-sized eight-way-adjustable windshield, not unlike the one on the 1290 Super Adventure we recently tested in our Ultimate Sports Adventure Touring Shootout. A bigger fuel tank is designed to better shield the rider’s legs and increase range. A new handlebar will also increase long-distance comfort. The subframe’s been stretched to accommodate luggage and a passenger, and new seating for pilot and pillion alike is designed for increased comfort. A low exhaust system makes room for the right saddlebag.

We found little to complain about re: the SDR’s bodice-ripping 150-plus hp, 90-lb-ft-plus 1301cc V-Twin, but the new GT will be benefitting from an updated version with new heads said to improve combustion efficiency, and EFI retuned for enhanced “fast public tourism,” with three riding modes, Sport, Street and Rain. Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) will integrate Traction Control (four options) with four-option ABS (Street, Sport, Rain, Supermoto). Cruise control is standard equipment.


To go with the “We Brake for Nothing” theme, WP semi-active suspension will serve up four optional ride modes, choosable on the fly. LED daytime running light, cornering lights and “LED arrows” (we’re guessing that means turn signals) integrated into the tank add to the show. Of course, there will be heated grips and all sorts of other options like Hill Start Control. And for those who wish to minimize their carbon footprint, be happy that the GT will comply with Euro 4.

KTM versus BMW is our favorite border skirmish in years.

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  • Old MOron

    Hmm, highly desirable. But I still can’t afford it.

  • Old MOron

    Hmm, highly desirable. But I still can’t afford it.

  • DickRuble

    Wish they had skipped some of the BS features (tank integrated turn signals?? what for?) and absurdly fat tank.

    • spiff

      Only give it half a tank on your sporting endeavors. You’re absolutely right about the hill start, but it is a software add on. It doesn’t exist until you utilize it.

  • JMDonald

    All bikes are improved over time. This platform is a good start. I like it and the concept.

  • Ser Samsquamsh

    Fairing font end by Spy-v-Spy.

  • john phyyt

    I know that it seems unimportant , but, the styling around the handle bars is “agricultural” . As the rider this is the area that is in your field most of the time and I would like more attention paid to it. Some autos provide a delightful experience just by sitting down in them. Imagine if a designer really looked at this area as a whole and actually did something about wires sticking out of forks , exposed cables , differing textures , nuts and bolts etc . Ducati seems to be becoming more involved with warm and vivid screem tech. Now if we could get someone to actually style the whole area. How about easy storage, usage , of tablet/phone integrated into this area. Motorcycles are lagging badly , and we need to join the connectivity revolution. Put this another way, in cheap airport rental car I sit down . 3 minutes later I have hands free connectivity, songs streaming, directions read out to me and all for less than the cost of this bike.

    • Rick Vera

      How do I dislike this, MO?

    • Rick Vera


    • panthalassa

      on a sub-note of the ergonomic and electronic themes you’re talking about, i keep hoping that one of the oems will, in essence, graft on a weatherproof glare-free tablet in lieu of the traditional dash. then we could choose what information we want displayed, resize it, format (dials vs bar graphs vs digits), colors, day/night modes, integration with nav, etc. for revenue, they could give us a few basic options standard, and then have a web store where we might download further customizations. (hmm, think i’ll get the “star trek” layout for the bonneville, and “hello kitty” for the dyna …)

    • Gary

      Try living without agriculture. Go ahead, try.

      • john phyyt

        Perhaps “unfinished” would have been a better term; I grew up on a farm; so sheesh!

        Have you been in the cab of a A/C ;GPS steered; comforted seated; Great stereo/dvd/Phone screen etc John Deere?

  • allworld

    I want to see it with factory side bags. Sport touring with emphasis on Sport is just want I am looking for.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    Not enough beak. Needs more

    They should just call it 1290 SMT

    • DickRuble

      If they replicate the SMT with just the bigger engine, that would be fine by me..

  • John B.

    I ride a sport tourer, which is great on long trips. On urban streets in heavy traffic and parking lots, however, it feels heavy and cumbersome. The KTM featured above and other similar bikes (e.g., the BMW S1000XR) provide more versatility and have more features than traditional sport tourers.

    It seems traditional heavyweight sport tourers have become obsolete. It will be interesting to see what plans Kawasaki has for the Concours, Triumph for the Trophy, and Yamaha for FJR, among others. Perhaps the Concours will become a Versys with a bigger displacement motor and more advanced electronics or will disappear all together. Time will tell.

    • Rick Vera

      Perhaps. I do fancy sport-tourers myself, but I never pulled the trigger on one namely because of what you said, it feels heavy and cumbersome. A back-to-back comparison of an FJR1300 and V Star 1300 left me feeling with cruiser being easier to steer what with the extra leverage of the bars despite the XVS1300 Tourer having a 75 lb disadvantage.

      As such, I’ve gravitated to this ‘adventure’ bike thing myself — at least the ones where lowering links are available. What I’d like really love to see is someone make a proper midsize sport-tourer; something with almost all the accouterments of a full-size ST bike with smaller weight, smaller frame, and a smaller engine. Something as sensible as an NT700V but with the chassis and heart of an FZ-09. The BMW F800GT sort of comes close, but it neither has enough content nor the proper price tag ($14,972 after destination and add-ons other big ST bikes come with standard) to be a serious contender. FJR900? ST800? Concourse 650? Anyone, please?

      • John B.

        Henry Ford said, if before the automobile was invented someone had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Likewise Steve Jobs designed products customers didn’t know they would love (e.g., iPod), and eschewed asking customers what they wanted. My guess is motorcycle manufacturers will continue to design motorcycles that make our hearts flutter in ways we never anticipated. The last couple years have been amazing in that regard.

        The Yamaha FJ-09 ($10,490) probably checks most of your boxes, but I’m not sure lowering links are available. The desire to reduce weight and to have full features in a sport tourer are opposing forces from a design perspective. For example, shaft drive and a motorized windshield are desirable features on a sport tourer, but both add to overall weight.

        I am 54 and can see myself eventually wanting a motorcycle that weighs less than my 688 pound Concours, but still has a powerful engine and features to take me long distances in relative comfort. Many bikes fit that description including the new KTM.

        It’s a great time to be a motorcyclist!

      • DickRuble

        The Aprilia Futura and the Ducati ST4 were probably what you are looking for.. Unfortunately manufacturers decided that porky was “in” and the rest is history..

      • Bruce Steever

        FJR900 is already here: FJ-09.

        Plus one for ADV bikes, otherwise.

        • Allison Sullivan

          I was so excited about this bike, and disappointed in the actual product. The FZ09 is tiny and sporty. The FJ09 feels big and cumbersome by comparison. I’m sure it’s comfortable, it’s just physically much bigger and heavier, and not really what my 150lb female frame was looking for. The FZ8 was a much nicer option – I’d happily dress one of those in touring gear, and I still might.

          • Bruce Steever

            It’s not really, but looks it. The FJ-09 is less than 50 lbs. heavier than the FZ, and the seat height is only about a half-inch taller (with acc. seat in place, same height). The problem is likely the bulky upper body plastics on the FJ-09.

            And yeah, most ADV bikes are huge, so that’s probably no-go for you. Yamaha needs to build a new twin-powered Tenere 700 ASAP.

            I assume you’ve looked at the various Kawi 650cc twins, the FZ-07, etc?

          • Allison Sullivan

            I ended up buying a CB1000R. With a Ventura pack system and a screen, it’s actually pretty capable. I wanted something bigger and more relaxed than what I had, and there’s definitely no replacement for displacement for open road miles.

            My biggest beef with ADV bikes is not so much the size, but how they carry their weight way up high in the tank. Fully fueled they feel dangerously top heavy to me, and it’s always put me off.

          • Kevin Duke

            The F800 platform has its fuel tank under its seat.

      • Michael

        Kawasaki 650 Versus is what you should try based on your summary. It’s a great ride and cheap.

      • Ian Parkes

        VFR800? Some say its lacking in the gizmo department – ride modes and traction control etc – but then others say once they’ve found the setting they like they forget about it, Honda just chose the right setting as standard and the V4 engine has soul. If you prefer a a naked or an upright riding position, the new VFR800X Crossrunner version won a shootout in the UK against the MV Augusta Turismo Veloce 800 (gorgeous!) and the Triumph Tiger 800. It has longer suspension, adjustable seat height and all the toys – traction control, ABS, LED lights, self-cancelling indicators, heated grips, and (at least in the UK) a topbox and GPS navigation.

  • Rick Vera

    I feel a bit ashamed as a motorcycle enthusiast that I’ve glazed over just how well the Super Duke was. It wasn’t until a friend of mine was what only could be called text message versions of a wet dream did I finally give it a good look. Even after my new appreciation for the bike, it never really was for me, per se. This bike, however, changes the game. The first thing I’d need to know is how tall is the seat height, and once I invariably discover it’s too high, immediately search for lowering links. Looking forward to MO’s EICMA review even more now.

  • Born to Ride

    I would love this bike, but ~160 rwhp and the likely 20k price tag is just excessive. I wish Ducati or KTM would just build a bike like this with a smooth 120 hp V-twin, a solid chassis, some quality hard bags, and good suspension for 15k or less. I love the old sport tourers so much more than all these SAT bikes that the industry is producing these days. This bike, sans the massive thirsty engine and computer controlled everything, would have me trading in my Sprint tomorrow.

    • Ian Parkes


  • Gary

    I hope this bike looks a lot better once they remove the “cammo.” Otherwise, it seems like a great bike. No doubt it will put the FJR and Concourse to shame.